Weekly Braindump #42

Obsolescence, Reinvention and Reflection

Happy Friday! Here’s the contents of my brain for this week.

I’ve been doing…

Over the last few weeks I’ve noticed a pattern develop. Monday & Tuesday.. wade through treacle and generally feel really busy but unproductive. Wednesday day off (for child care). Thursday & Friday much more productive, make good progress, end the week on a reasonably good note.

I’m not yet sure what conditions are supporting this pattern, and whether it’ll disappear once the school holidays end and I’m back doing five day weeks again? Is this just an indicator that I need some time off to decompress? Is the proximity of the weekend helping spur on productivity? Questions! I’ve got lots of them. Answers.. not so much.. not yet anyway.

My week started with an offsite backup and replication issue which consumed quite a lot of time digging through knowledge bases and forum posts. Was actually quite a nice change from the project management dance I’ve been doing of late.

Tuesday was spent catching up on some outstanding issues from last week. It’s reasonably quiet in the office at the moment as seemingly a chunk of the organisation is in holiday mode. The kanban board is looking respectable and we’ve taken a good bite out of the backlog over the last week or two.

Wednesday was a day off.

Thursday I came to work to find that one of the SSL certificates on an application server had expired. I surprised myself by pretty much remembering how to request and renew the certificate without having to read up. I need to write this down somewhere so the knowledge is available to the rest of the team. (Which just reminded me about getting back to the technical wiki thing I was going to setup)

I made some much needed progress with a 3rd party on the <bleep> project for the <bleep> team. I’m now in a position where I can forge ahead with work and hopefully get this thing signed off and launched so I can move onto the next thing (FINALLY).

Friday I wrote this braindump so as to avoid toiling over it late evening. I’ve published the last two posts 3 or 4 days after they usually go live, so I’ve made a concerted effort this time around to get it done earlier. On a related note, I had an interesting exchange with Ben Cubbon a couple of weeks ago about finding time for reflection.

He proposed that this should be part of parcel of the day job. Interestingly there was even talk of dedicating 10% of the working week to reflection (I really like this idea!).

I get a lot of value out writing these things up.. and it certainly helps me resist the urge of just barreling head down from week to week without stopping to think and course correct. It’s also a pretty good barometer for mental health. I’m now far more aware of the ebb and flow of my productivity and energy reserves.

I’ve been thinking about…

Obsolescence and reinvention. Lots of the work we do is about getting rid of needless complexity. About making the technology work so people can get on and do stuff, but also keeping it mostly invisible so that it’s accessible to all. At some point that probably means you need to reinvent or redefine your purpose or your skills to move onto the next thing. Perhaps, like Bowie, Madonna and Prince, we all need to regularly reinvent ourselves to break new ground?

On a related note, a blog post from Neil Goodrich on talent management got me thinking about what professional development looks like when you’re a bit T-Shaped and perhaps don’t have a clearly defined route to the next thing.

In a small way, my efforts to work in the open have been about discovery and trying to form links with subject areas that I’m really interested in but otherwise wouldn’t cross paths with in my day job.

I’ve seen a few posts recently where people are seeking out mentoring opportunities to help with development. Perhaps this is a route I need to explore?? *chin_stroking.mp3*

I’ve been reading…

I’ve been listening to…

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